You’ve probably heard it over and over again: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And that’s especially true for children: Research shows that eating a smart breakfast can help improve behavior and school performance, as well as foster a healthy weight. 

The best breakfasts have 3 components to keep you full and energized:

  1. Protein (found in eggs, yogurt, lean deli cuts, cheese, and nut butters)
  2. Whole grains (found in oatmeal, whole grain breads, multigrain waffles, and cereals)
  3. Fruit

Most kids don’t have trouble eating the latter two as their morning meal, but protein at breakfast can be harder for them to swallow–especially since the morning rush leaves little time for frying up a few eggs. Enter your child’s (and your!) next best option: homemade granola. This version is made with protein-packed oats, grains, and seeds. And unlike store versions, it’s not full of crazy amounts of added sugar. It’s also crunchy (a win with kids!), full of filling fiber, and made with and nuts and seeds for healthy fats to give the brain a big boost. But best of all, it is delicious.

Think of this recipe as a blank slate: If you don´t have all the ingredients,  feel free to skip some or replace other nuts, dried fruits, or seeds. Best of all, this keeps well in the freezer, so you can make a big batch and always have it on hand.  

My kids and I eat it with wild blueberries, ½ banana and low fat yogurt. It is delicious and it keeps us full until lunch time!

Protein-Packed Granola 

Makes 4 cups (I usually double it since it goes fast in our house)

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup flax seed
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup chopped raw almonds
¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup dried unsweetened grated coconut
2-3 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
¼ cup water
½ cup of mixed dried berries like raisins, apricots or cranberries

Directions.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, wheat germ, flax seed, coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, honey or maple syrup, and water in a small bowl. Pour the liquid into the oat mixture and stir until it is well incorporated.

Spread the mixture the mixture on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about 30 minutes, mixing occasionally so everything cooks evenly.

Let the mixture cool completely on the baking sheet, then return the mixture to the large bowl and stir in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (it’ll last for at least a few weeks) or transfer to the freezer.